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"Hope Is The Last To Die" By Haline Birenbaum

1451 words - 6 pages

Hope Is The Last To DieBy: Halina Birenbaum "Hope Is the Last to Die" is the author's account of her expierience growing up in the warsaw ghetto, and her eventual deportation to, imprisonment in, and survival of the Majdanek, Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Neustadt-Glewe camps. In the beginning of the book Halina lives in a suburb of Warsaw, still very young, she doesn't understand the intensity of the situations to come. In 1940 a tall wall was built to seperate the Jewish Ghetto from the Aryan side of the city. Emplayed Jews recieved special work permits, which later on became the only way to secure one's life.The Ghetto streets were blocked and thousands of Jews in columns were dragged along to the Umschlag (the train to the death camps). Halina and her family began hiding in attics, cellars, and their last retreat, a bunker. Halina, her mother, and Hileks wife, Hela were taken to the womens camp. Fighting starvation, typhus, scurvy, dysetnery, tuberculosis, lice, and the horrible labor. Halina's mother, father and sister-in-law all died.Towards the end of the book Halina is shot for coming to close the the fence seperating the camps and needs to get a bullet taken out of her shoulder. During her time in the hospital she meets Abram, with whom she falls in love with and during the liquidation of the camp, leaves with, and she returns to Warsaw. On a busy street she reunites with her brother Marek. So, finally, after growing up in such turmoil she leaves, a woman, but is still burdened with the nigthmares she witnessed at the camps.Who should read this book? Why? I would refer this book to anyone interested in history, specifically WWII and the holocaust. People who like personal stories would also enjoy this book, because it is a real life account, with no frills and put simply but with deep emotion attatched.Who shouldn't read this book? Why? I suppose people who aren't fond of reading shouldn't read this book, but i personally think everyone would like it and learn from it in some way. It's informational, but not to the point of boredom.Describe memorable scenes. One scene imprinted on my mind is when Halina, and Hela, are lined up with the other Jewesses. The SS officers go down the line and choose those who look sickly or frail and send them to the crematoria. Halina passed the inspection, but the officers chose Hela to die. Halina clutched Hela for fear of letting go the only person she truly had left. Seeing this, the commanding officer pointed to Halina and waved her over to him, and he asked her, "Who is she for you?" and without hesitation Halina replies, "My mother, my sister, I cannot live without her." After she says this he said if she were to let go and stop begging that he will spare their lives, and if they didn't, he just simply pointed at the large chimney of the crematoria, the impending doom. Without thinking she hugs him, and is slapped with immense force to the ground.This really stood out to me,...

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